Thursday, May 30, 2013

Musings in the airport at Dallas

As is sat waiting for my flight in Dallas airport last week, a very curious thought emerged within me. I was in the airport by three in the morning to board a flight four hours later, and it gave ample time to get into one those mellow moods of observation, which grips our senses every now and then, when we are not particularly stressed or worried about anything in particular. There is a strange sense of dispossession. Slowly, the airport was coming to life with travelers pushing their trollies, parents herding their children, youngsters with headphones jammed tight on their ears : as they walk around hunting for a cozy seat to put up their legs and relax. An airport is a strange place. It is a no man’s land. Thousands of people congregate, chat, socialize in bars and restaurants, making inane conversations with strangers; sometimes audacious enough to reveal their long buried secrets. All that one needs is a sympathetic ear.
Beside me was seated a good looking lady, probably in her late twenties. Well groomed, dressed in maroon coloured short sleeves shirt and a tight fitting jeans, sporting a silvery Karl Lagerfeld watch, nails immaculately groomed , sipping a cup of Star bucks coffee. Very soon, both of us started conversing with each other. Apparently, she was on the same flight as me to Atlanta. Before long, she was talking to me about her estranged husband and tragedies at home. She went on to say that she does multiple jobs, and that she would be heading to New York, after spending a few days with her childhood friend in Atlanta. During this entire conversation, never once did I ask her what is that she did for a living. I merely sat listening to her pensively, replying at appropriate times with a generous “yes”, “Hmmmm” etc. It was as though she wanted to speak her heart out to somebody and I happened to the sympathetic ear that she found. After nearly hour and a half of conversation, she turned towards me and said “Hey, you know what; I used to work at the gentlemen’s club in Portland, Oregon.” For some strange reason, I wasn’t surprised in the least. She was definitely good looking, seductively dressed and curvaceous as well. She went on ...” I studied to be a public administrator, but then, that is the time the economy was slowing down and jobs were hard to come by. I had just gotten through a messy relationship with my ex-husband and my parents had other priorities in life. I got a job in a local bar in Portland and then slowly realized that there was more money to be made, if I could dance a little. Eventually, it became a full time profession. It’s been two years now. I still hope to get an administrative job someday. Hopefully, it will come sooner than later…” All this while, I was looking at her intently, without for a moment judging her by what she said. She now visibly seemed relaxed after having regurgitated her thoughts. All that I could say to her was “All the very best to you”. I am not sure what I meant by those words. It seemed rather insensitive in retrospect, but really, I was in one of those moods where everything seemed alright with the world. She gave a benign smile and said “Thanks for hearing me out patiently. I am not sure why I told you this “.

The Boarding call was announced and we parted ways. For those couple of brief hours, two strangers had met and touched a spot within ourselves that was not judgmental. It was the flowering of natural empathy that exists between human being everywhere. It was after I had gotten out of flight in Atlanta did I realize that both of us had not even exchanged names. All that remained was a memory of a conversation between two human beings, who met in transit, and talked to each other without any motives or purpose.

Such is the reality stuff of life………………..

God bless

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